Mehmet Okur

Mehmet Murat Okur (born May 26, 1979) is a Turkish retired professional basketball player. Listed at 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), he played as a power forward and center.

Okur was selected 37th overall in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He played two seasons for the Pistons from 2002–03 to 2003–04, helping Detroit win the NBA championship in June 2004. He became the first Turkish player to win an NBA championship. Due to salary cap limitations, the Pistons were unable to pay a top-level salary for Okur, but he was able to parlay his success into a six-year, US$50 million contract with the Utah Jazz.

He was known for his terrific three point shooting and ability to space the floor. In his 7 seasons with the Utah Jazz, Mehmet Okur not only emerged as one of the premier shooting bigs in the NBA – he also became one of the league’s most feared shooters in the clutch. From 2004-10 Okur displayed an uncanny knack for making big shots in pressure situations – earning him the nickname of “The Money Man” and “Memo is Money” amongst Jazz fans.

He was named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. He and Ray Allen were selected as replacements for injured original members Allen Iverson and Steve Nash. He was the first Turkish player to participate in this event.

On Monday, January 12, 2009, Okur established a new career high in points scored when he scored 43 points against the Indiana Pacers.

On July 10, 2009 Okur signed a two-year contract extension reportedly worth approximately $21 million.

On April 17, 2010, Okur ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during the first game of the post-season against the Denver Nuggets, eliminating him from the remainder of the NBA playoffs, as well as the World Basketball Championships in his native Turkey later that summer.

He returned on December 17, 2010 and scored 2 points against the New Orleans Hornets.

On March 15, 2012, Okur was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers along with Shawne Williams and a 2012 1st round draft pick in exchange for Gerald Wallace. He was waived by Portland on March 21, 2012.

Later in 2012, Okur decided to retire from basketball, citing injuries.


Career highlights and awards
NBA champion (2004)
NBA All-Star (2007)
Career NBA statistics
Points 8,561 (13.5 ppg)
Rebounds 4,436 (7.0 rpg)
Assists 1,089 (1.7 apg)

Representing Turkey
FIBA European Championship
Silver medal – second place 2001 Turkey National team